It seems that there’s always some kind of disaster, either natural or manmade, that prove the value of being prepared. Even if it’s not a Red Dawn scenario, there are hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, droughts, and even job losses that just make stockpiling food smart.
But, there are some foods that you shouldn’t try to stockpile.
Some of these are foods that you just shouldn’t stockpile at all and some of them are foods that you have to stockpile in a certain way to keep them from going bad. It’s important to optimize your space, so don’t waste it on food that’s just going to go bad.
I’m going to skip listing fresh fruits and vegetables because that’s kind of a no-brainer. Bananas obviously aren’t going to store long-term. The exception is, of course, root vegetables if you have a cellar.
This is one food that you just can’t store in raw form. You can’t can eggs or freeze them, and they only have a shelf life of a month or so, maximum, even if they’re fresh and refrigerated.
However, there are great dried-egg products that you should stockpile because eggs are so versatile.
These products are real eggs – they’re just powered using special equipment that just isn’t practical (or sometimes even possible) to use at home. That means you can use them in recipes or even to make scrambled eggs for breakfast.
Of course, it’s always a good plan to have chickens, too. That way you have fresh eggs and meat.
Dried Goods in Original Packaging
While sugar, flour, cornmeal, and rice are staples in your stockpile, you need to store them properly. All of them come from the store in packaging that’s definitely not air-tight, and are therefore susceptible to bugs and spoilage.
Most people don’t realize that flour has an expiration date, but it does; it goes rancid. This process is expedited when the flour is stored in the bag that it came in. Also, there are about a dozen bugs including flour weevils that will get into your dried goods, especially in flour and pasta.
And here’s something that I learned the hard way: roaches and other pests are attracted to the bags, especially the glue, just as much as they are the contents.
To combat this, store all of your dried goods in airtight containers such as 5-gallon buckets. Also, if you can, store wheat instead of flour and white rice instead of brown because brown rice contains more oil.
Finally, a word about brown sugar: it doesn’t spoil, but it does get hard because it draws moisture. Store it in an airtight container that’s appropriate for the amount so that there’s not a lot of empty space.
This is another food that many people may not realize spoils, but it does. If you think about it logically, vegetable oils, or animal fats for that matter, are organic, so therefore they go rancid. There really isn’t a good way to store oils so that they keep indefinitely but you can actually home-can butter and lard.
Oils that aren’t open usually keep for a couple of years, but once they’re open, they’re only good for a few months, tops. Therefore, if you’re going to stockpile oil, do so in smaller bottles that won’t result in waste.
Nuts, too, go rancid. You’ve probably experienced this if you’ve had a jar of peanut butter open for a while—it starts to smell strong and taste funky. In raw form, they’re the same way. Though they may not make you sick up to a certain point before they actually rot, they will taste bad long before that.
The same goes for nut butters such as peanut butter, as we just mentioned, though as long as they’re stored unopened, they’ll usually last in that form for a couple of years.
What many people don’t know is that you can home-can nuts, too!
If you’ve ever opened up a sleeve of old saltines, you understand what I’m saying here. They smell weird and taste even worse. That’s because they’re basically just flour and water, and flour goes rancid. If you have to store saltines, store them in airtight containers and rotate them out every few months.
Oxygen absorbers help too, if you really want to use them on storing crackers.
Breakfast Cold Cereals
Cereal is another food that’s stored in cardboard boxes and therefore don’t store well for long periods of time without spoiling or attracting roaches and other bugs.
I realize that they’re often cheap, especially if you coupon, but in a true emergency, you need to get the most nutrient bang for your buck, and when you combine the poor nutritional quality with the storage issues, you’d be better off storing foods like rolled or steel-cut oats.
Would you rather take up 3 square feet of your food storage space with 6 boxes of frosted fruit rings or canned meat and vegetables?
Store-Canned Tomato Products
I have home-canned tomatoes that have lasted for years but store-canned tomato products tend to start to leak eventually. These aren’t necessarily something you shouldn’t stockpile, but be careful with them and rotate through them. Home-can them if you can.
Foods You Don’t Eat
I know this sounds like an odd thing to say, but I’ve volunteered for a few canned food drives, and a few of the top foods donated are stuff like lima beans, chick peas, canned spaghetti sauce and cranberry sauce because these aren’t typically foods that people buy.
My guess is that people comb through their cabinets and find foods that they’ve had forever and that’s what they donate. Which is fine, but from a stockpiling standpoint, it’s wasteful.
It’s easy to get carried away by coupon specials and deals in bargain bins, but don’t buy something just because it’s dirt cheap or even free if you’re not going to eat it. It’s a waste of space and money. It’s great to save moneyon stuff you use, though.
Bags of potato chips and packs of cookies take up a ton of space and don’t keep for as long as you think.
While comfort foods such as these will be nice, don’t store more than you’ll eat in a couple of months. Save the space for food and supplies that you’ll really need.
These are the ones that you’re going to find in a bargain bin. You’ll also find them on the shelf, but if the can is damaged, there’s a good chance that the seal or the internal safety lining in the can are damaged, too. It’s not a deal if it makes you sick when you eat it. Or if it leaks all over your food storage pantry.
Be careful and pay close attention to what you buy. Buy smart – that real estate in your stockpile pantry is precious and you need to make the most of it!
Regardless of what you have, organize it so that the newest buys are in the back and the older ones are in the front. Use the First In First Out method to cycle your food so that your stockpile stays as fresh as possible.